Cold calling is a sales strategy that involves calling prospects you’ve never interacted with before. Because it relies on a connection with a relative stranger who may not be ready to make a purchasing decision, it’s one of the most challenging parts of a sales rep’s job. However, the process works demonstrably better than email-only outreach.
What Is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a marketing and sales technique that involves making outbound telephone sales calls to qualified prospects/leads that know very little (or nothing) about a company before the initial contact.
Cold calls can be made to individual consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B)
Warm calling is another popular method of sales prospecting. In a warm call, agents reach out to a lead that has had some sort of prior contact with your company, such as a marketing email, SMS campaign sign-up, or someone who has previously expressed an interest in your company in any way, including in-person.
Companies can find high-quality prospects (AKA, people that are the most likely to be interested in what the company offers) in several ways, such as:
- Purchasing lead lists and number databases from third-party data providers like Peakslead
- Referrals from current customers
- Researching on LinkedIn or Google
- Lead generation from word-of-mouth and in-person events
- Competitor research
- Email signatures, messaging signatures, out-of-office replies
Though this post primarily deals with cold calls, remember that cold emails or cold social media messages are also effective ways of reaching potential new clients.
Cold Calling Statistics for 2021
Especially for small businesses with tight budgets, listening to the benefits of cold calls alone isn’t enough to refute the misinformation surrounding the effectiveness of cold calling.
If you’re anything like most business owners, you’ve probably read countless articles claiming that “cold calling is over;” that it’s ineffective, outdated, a waste of time, annoying, and that rude customers are stressful for sales reps.
Then prepare to be shocked by the below data-backed proof of the advantages of cold calling.
The Power of the Cold Approach
One of the biggest reasons why businesses are skeptical of cold calling?
They think other people simply don’t want to be bothered or see cold calling as aggressive and pushy.
But a study from the RAIN Group shows that:
- 69% of buyers have taken calls from new companies in the past year
- Over half of senior-level buyers and decision-makers prefer to be contacted via the phone
- Over 80% of buyers take meetings with salespeople that reach out to them first
- 71% of buyers want to hear from sales teams when researching how to improve their business
- 62% of buyers say they’d like a seller to reach out when they’re trying to solve a business problem
- 27% of sellers believe cold calling is one of the most effective ways to get new clients/customers
- Cold calling is five to ten times more effective than email campaigns
- Between 30-50% of sales go to the business that was the first to reach out to the prospect
What Prospects Want From Cold Calls
Now that you know the truth about how many buyers actually want cold calls, you need to learn what they want to hear on these calls.
Research shows that:
- 96% of buyers say they’re most influenced by cold calls that show the value their products/services will offer them (value proposition, etc.)
- 66% of buyers say that cold calls highlighting the solutions to current business problems influence them to schedule a follow-up to the initial contact outreach
- Over ¾ of sales professionals say contacting prospects at the right time has a huge influence on conversion rates
- 54% of buyers want detailed information on product features and services on the first phone call, but only 23% of agents provide that information on the first call
The Data Behind Effective Cold Calling
We’ll provide more detailed cold calling advice and best practices later in this post, but the below statistics are an excellent way to understand how to increase cold call conversion rates.
Over 40% of agents say that making calls is their best sales tool. Make the most of yours with the below cold calling strategies and tips.
- The average sales representative makes 45 phone calls every day
- The best time of day to make a cold call is between 4:00-5:00 PM
- Between 2:00-3:00 PM is the worst time of the business day to make phone calls
- The best day of the week to make cold calls is Wednesday
- Friday is the worst day to make cold calls
- Successful cold calls discuss between three and four of the prospect’s current business problems
- Effective cold calls included an uninterrupted sales pitch of roughly 37 seconds in length
- Agents that asked eleven to fourteen questions had an over 70% cold call success rate, while agents that asked only one to six questions had a roughly 30% lower success rate than those that asked between 11-14 questions
- The most successful cold calls are between 6-10 minutes in length
- Research prospects before reaching out wherever possible. Over 50% of prospects are not a good fit for what agents are trying to sell them
- Asking, “Did I catch you at a bad time?” decreases the likelihood of call success by 40%
The Importance of Following Up
Nearly half of all sales agents never bother to make even one follow-up attempt with a prospect after initial contact.
Doing so isn’t just a waste of time and company resources. The failure to follow up with potential customers results in significant potential revenue loss.
- It takes an average of 8 cold calling attempts to reach a prospect
- The average sales agent makes only 2 cold calling attempts to connect with a prospect before giving up
- Over ¾ of sales require roughly 5 follow-up phone calls before the lead converts
- Nearly half of all salespeople only make 1 follow-up call before giving up
- 42% of buyers say they’re much more likely to convert if a B2C or B2B sales representative calls them back at a scheduled time
Even in light of digital sales strategies such as using email campaigns, social media, and text messages, buyers still want to speak person-to-person—especially for service issues and larger ticket purchases. Cold calling, if done properly, is an effective outreach method for beginner and experienced salespeople.